Rum Raisin Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the Cake:
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup dark rum
1 cup 1 pecans (4 ounces)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 pound carrots, peeled and coarsely shredded
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
For the Frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 8-ounces packages cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Zest of one orange
2 cups confectioners' sugar
Soak raisins in rum, preferably overnight, until raisins are nice and plump.
Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter two 9-inch cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment. Butter the paper and flour the pans.
For the cake:
Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes, until fragrant. Cool and finely chop.
In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
In a small bowl, whisk the oil, buttermilk and vanilla.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar at high speed until pale, 5 minutes.
Beat in the liquid ingredients, then beat in the dry ingredients just until moistened.
Stir in the carrots, pecans and raisins.
Divide the batter between the pans and bake the cakes for 55 minutes to 1 hour, until springy and golden.
Let the cakes cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then unmold the cakes and let cool completely.
For the Frosting:
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese at high speed until light, about 5 minutes.
Beat in the vanilla and orange zest, then the confectioners' sugar; beat at low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Peel off the parchment paper and invert one cake layer onto a plate. Spread with a slightly rounded cup of the frosting. Top with the second cake layer, right side up. Spread the top and sides with the remaining frosting and refrigerate the cake until chilled, about 1 hour.